The Day After

Al Davis is insane and killing this team. The starting QB was and is garbage. They should've let the backup play sooner. The coaches suck! You call that playcalling? The offensive line is pathetic and they should've upgraded this in the offseason.

Hang on, let me pull another complaint from my reason the Raiders lost hat. Play Marcus Allen!

I don't know why I am still a fan, when this team continues to lose on the road against Super Bowl caliber teams and breaks my heart falling back to .500 and one game out of first place. Wait...what? Hey, that's not so bad.

The Raiders got their ass-kicked. To this there is no doubt or denial. Pittsburgh seemed to make all the close plays, but that right there is a silver and black lining. It was a team effort. This team just failed to win the close plays and there were lots of close plays. It wasn't a blowout in the vain of the Giants game last year where the part of the team that actually shows up quits in the first quarter. They just got beat by a better team on Sunday.

I am not going to blame the QBs' play. They gave up 35 points against Pittsburgh. I am not going to blame the play calling--they came out with quick passes to try and follow New England's success and then just missed on some big plays early. I am not going to blame the defensive playcalling--they had a sound plan and followed it, but Roethlisberger beat them from the pocket.

Pittsburgh got the momentum and the Raiders fell under an avalanche. One of the things that has been impressive about this year's team is that they have been able to battle through adversity. The Steelers weren't going to have it and the Raiders got it handed to them...it happens. This always looked like and proved to be the toughest game on the schedule. You move on, beat Miami and forget about this one. That's one of the benefits of winning three in a row. One loss isn't the end of the world.

Pittsburgh had a solid game plan and they executed it flawlessly. They stretched the Nnamdi-less secondary thin and went to work. They went with a lot of 5 wide shotgun sets with crosses and motion to get quick open looks against the Raiders man-to-man defense. Roethlisberger made the right reads all day, his passes were quick and on time and his WRs made some great catches in heavy traffic.

The Raiders aren't really built to come from behind--especially against a team that can rush the passer like Pittsburgh. Let's take a look at how the avalanche started:

  • The Raiders led 3-0 in the first quarter. It was 3rd down and Campbell had JLH with a step on a streak. This was really a beuatifully thrown ball. JLH got his feet tangled and fell before he got there. The Raiders had to punt.
  • The Steelers next drive resulted in their first TD and here is where the momentum began to turn.
  • The Raiders had the Steelers in a 2nd and 16 and Mike Wallace made a great play on the ball over CJ for a first down.
  • 3rd and 17 on Pitt's 41: The Raiders rush 4 and Ben is in the shotgun he throws a crisp pass on an underneath cross. Mitchell and Routt are late figuring out the switch and it is an easy play.
  • 3rd and 6 on Oak's 12: Empty backfield shotgun set. Moore is outside with Groves guarding him to the outside. Brown has the middle zone. Brown is late guarding the Moore's underneath slant and it is an easy throw and catch.
  • And just like that it was 7-3 and the momentum was gone. These kinds of plays continued. Pittsburgh got the big sacks and turnovers and the Raiders couldn't. As far as I am concerned, this game was over when Louis Murphy fumbled. 

There was one positive to pull from this game:

  • Travis Goethel: The rookie saw his first meaningful playing time and split time at WLB with Groves. While he made everyone's highlights by chasing behind Mike Wallace, in a matchup that should never happen, he showed solid instincts, flow to the ball and the ability to get off of a block. If he stays healthy, I expect he'll be the full-time starter in a few weeks.
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